Yahoo Sports' Andy Behrens, Liz Loza and Matt Harmon discuss when it's a good time to pick a WR instead of a RB in the first round of fantasy drafts.
LIZ LOZA: Let's start-- I mentioned that the first five players are all running backs. Every year, we talk about the running back position being volatile and thin and petering out rather quickly. Where in the first round specifically do you start to consider taking a wide receiver over a running back?
I will say for myself, I don't mind taking a wide receiver ahead of Derrick Henry. To me, Derrick Henry, I think you're drafting him at peak value right there. You're expecting him to do exactly what he did last year, which is a tough ask. But again, if anyone has proven to be a statistical anomaly, it is Derrick Henry, so I understand why one would feel compelled to take him at the five spot.
I'm OK differentiating about there though. Andy, what about you?
ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah, if it's a full PPR format-- and that's not Yahoo default. Yahoo default is half PPR. If it's a full PPR format, I'm pretty interested in Michael Thomas at four. That is where I have generally taken him.
The gap between Michael Thomas and the number two fantasy receiver in full PPR last year was 98 points. It's a crazy gap. And obviously that's a historic, record-setting season. But the year before, which is maybe more likely for Michael Thomas this year, was still 125 catches and 1,400 yards. He's pretty solid in a PPR format, I'll just say that.
And then in half PPR, I'm with you. I would still have Thomas over Derrick Henry. Henry basically has to score 16 or 18 touchdowns in a half PPR format in order to justify that sort of draft position. Because, I mean, we can do a little wish casting and hope that Derrick Henry someday is gonna catch 40 passes because things go well when they throw screen passes to him, right? But it just hasn't happened to this point, so I'm not gonna bank on that and price it in.
MATT HARMON: Yeah, just to throw some more Derrick Henry talk in here too. Over the last four years, the fantasy running back eight in PPR formats has averaged just over 251 points per season. That's already three spots below Henry's ADP that we're talking about here as the running back five. And just 11 running backs out of the 301 to have cleared 250 points since the merger have recorded fewer than 20 catches, which obviously Henry did last year.
So, I mean, you are really banking on an insane outlier. I kind of do tend to think that he can get to maybe the 35 range this year, only because, number one, I think the Titans are gonna be throwing it more. Because there are not gonna be just these absolute great game scripts for running the ball.
Dion Lewis, as much as Dion Lewis is really not a factor in any of our minds anymore, he is out of the picture. Darrynton Evans, he's picking it up slow in camp so far. So, I mean, we're never gonna see Henry be a feature pass-catcher.
But I think I feel comfortable enough to take him at five over a wide receiver like Michael Thomas. Or I have Davante Adams as my top receiver. So then I think you're starting to think of those two receivers over my running back six, which is Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Dalvin Cook or any of these other guys after that.